Ranking Mr. Irrelevant’s top five players in NFL history as 49ers’ Brock Purdy makes playoff debut against Seahawks

Ranking Mr. Irrelevant’s top five players in NFL history as 49ers’ Brock Purdy makes playoff debut against Seahawks

Ranking Mr. Irrelevant’s top five players in NFL history as 49ers’ Brock Purdy makes playoff debut against Seahawks

The 49ers began their journey into the 2023 NFL Playoffs on Sunday, taking on rival Seahawks, and they did it with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy under center. But Purdy, as has been well documented, is no old rookie. Unlike San Francisco’s opening day starter Trey Lance, he didn’t come in as the franchise’s hand-picked face. Instead, he literally walked in as the last man standing, joining the 49ers as the 262nd and final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — Mr. Irrelevant himself.

First coined in 1976 but technically documented since the draft’s inception in 1936, the nickname Mr. Irrelevant has followed dozens of NFL prospects over the decades. Purdy, 22, is only the latest to carry the title, stepping in as a no-nonsense emergency replacement for Jimmy Garoppolo, who in turn replaced the injured Lance at the start of this season.

With a strong playoff run, Purdy has a chance to quickly become one of the greatest Mr. Irrelevants to ever take the field. With that in mind, here’s a look at five of the most relevant Mr. Irrelevants in NFL history:

5.Marty Moore (1994)

Written: No. 222 overall | Team: Patriots | University: Kentucky

The first Mr. Irrelevant to win a Super Bowl, Moore spent eight seasons as a linebacker — seven with the Patriots and one with the Browns. Although he made just 19 career starts, posting his best numbers (90 tackles, four pass deflections, one INT) in Cleveland, he carved out a role on special teams with the Pats, earning jobs under Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. Logging two picks in a limited number of snaps during Carroll’s first year as head coach, he earned a club championship ring in 2001 against the Rams “Greatest Show on Turf.”

4. Jim Finn (1999)

Written: No. 253 overall | Team: Bear | University: Pennsylvania

Finn didn’t crack as a rookie, spending part of his freshman year on the Bears’ practice squad. After that, however, he made his way to the Colts, who had just come off a 13-3 breakout, and had eight straight years as an active guard. An offload option for Peyton Manning, sharing a backfield with Edgerrin James, he saw his best production alongside Peyton’s brother Eli with the Giants (2003-2007). In New York, Finn passed 100 receiving yards twice, helped block for All-Pro Tiki Barber and earned a ring when the G-Men upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

3. Bill Fischer (1948)

Written: No. 300 overall | Team: Cardinals | University: our Lady

Esteemed guard of College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy at Notre Dame, Fischer returned to school after the Cardinals drafted him after his freshman year, then officially launched his NFL career. a year later, when the Cardinals drafted him again — this time 10th overall. The big man started 48 games over five seasons, mostly at left tackle, becoming the first Mr. Irrelevant to earn a Pro Bowl nod (he finished with three). While also recording the occasional snap on defense, Fischer ended his brief but stellar career with one interception and 10 fumble recoveries.

2. Jacques MacKinnon (1961)

Written: No. 280 overall | Team: Eagles | University: Colgate

Like Fischer, he had an unusual way of finding Mr. Irrelevant fame. Although the Eagles took him on late in the 1961 draft, the fullback/tight end instead fled to the West Coast, signing with the AFL’s San Diego Chargers. He spent the next nine years under Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman, deployed as both runner and receiver in two tight sets. An athletic threat ahead of his time, MacKinnon had nearly 2,500 career scrimmage yards, including 33 catches for 646 yards and six touchdowns at age 30 in 1968. The slugger also spent just one season with the Raiders (1970), just as the AFL merged with the NFL, letting the game appear in four different AFL Championships and winning one.

Written: No. 256 overall | Team: Heads | University: Caroline from the south

Of all the Mr. Irrelevants, none has had such a consistent impact over such a long period of time. One of only two kickers selected in 2009, Succop showed his leg early, setting the Chiefs rookie record for field goals (25) and tying an NFL record for field goal percentage by recruits (86.2). After five years in Kansas City, he spent six with the Titans, eclipsing 100 points three times on the year. With the Buccaneers since 2020, he broke a franchise record for single-season points (136) on the club’s Super Bowl championship team. And at 36, he still has it, entering Week 14 currently 24 of 27 on field goals for Tampa Bay. In his 14th season, he ranks in the top 35 all-time kickers in points (1,400+) and field goal percentage (83.5%), ahead of Pro Bowlers big names like Mark Moseley , Neil Rackers and Billy Cundiff.

A look at each Mr. Irrelevant

Now that we’ve ranked the top five, here’s a look at Mr. Irrelevant’s history since the term was first coined in 1976. Iowa State’s Purdy was selected in 2022 with the 262nd pick by the 49ers.

2021 259 Grant Stuard Buccaneers KG Houston
2020 255 Tae Crowder giants KG Georgia
2019 254 Caleb Wilson Cardinals AND UCLA
2018 256 Trey Quinn Commanders WR EMS
2017 253 Chad Kelly Broncos QC Ole Miss
2016 253 Kalan Roseau Titans BC Miss South
2015 256 Gerald Christian Cardinals AND Louisville
2014 256 Lonnie Ballentine Texas S Memphis
2013 254 Judge Cunningham Foals AND Caroline from the south
2012 253 Chandler Harnish Foals QC UNITED
2011 254 Cheta Ozougwu Texas OF Rice
2010 255 Tim Toon the Lions WR Weber’s state
2009 256 Ryan Succop Chiefs K Caroline from the south
2008 252 David Vobora Rams OLB Idaho
2007 255 ramzee robinson the Lions BC Alabama
2006 255 Kevin McMahan Raiders WR Maine
2005 255 Andy Stokes patriots AND William Penn
2004 255 Andre Sommersell Raiders KG state of colorado
2003 262 Ryan Hoag Raiders WR Gustav Adolf
2002 261 Ahmad Miller Texas DT UNLV
2001 246 Tevita Ofahengaue Cardinals AND Brigham Young
2000 254 Michael Green Bear comics northwestern state
1999 253 Jim Finn Bear RB Pennsylvania
1998 241 Cam Quayle crows AND Weber’s state
1997 240 Ronnie McAda Packers QC Army
1996 254 Sam Manuel 49ers KG New Mexico State
1995 249 Michael Reed Panthers comics Boston College
1994 222 Marty Moore patriots KG Kentucky
1993 224 Daron Alcorn Buccaneers K Akron
1992 336 Matt Elliot Commanders VS Michigan
1991 334 larry wanke giants QC John Carroll
1990 331 Demetrius Davis Raiders AND Nevada
1989 335 Everett Ross vikings WR ohio state
1988 333 Jeff Beathard Rams WR Southern Oregon
1987 335 Norman Jefferson Packers comics USL
1986 333 Mike Travis Chargers comics Georgia Technology
1985 336 Donald Chumley 49ers DT Georgia
1984 336 Randy Essington Raiders QC Colorado
1983 335 John Tuggle giants RB California
1982 334 Tim Washington 49ers comics Fresno State
nineteen eighty one 332 Phil Nelson Raiders AND Delaware
1980 333 Tyrone McGriff Steelers g Florida A&M
1979 330 Mike Almond Steelers WR northwestern state
1978 334 Lee Washburn Cowboys g state of montana
1977 335 Jim Kelleher vikings RB Colorado
1976 487 Kelvin Kirk Steelers WR Dayton

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